Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams was suspended without pay by the WNBA on Tuesday for 10 games — nearly a third of the season — for a domestic violence incident.
Williams was arrested April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.
The WNBA conducted its own investigation and consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence. Among other factors, the league said it took into account the nature and seriousness of the allegations, including the involvement of a gun. Williams will also be required to participate in counseling.
"As an organization, we abhor violence of any kind and specifically take domestic violence allegations very seriously," the Sparks said in a statement. "We will provide whatever resources we are allowed to help Riquna learn and grow from this unfortunate situation."
The suspension, which surpassed the seven games given to Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson in 2015 for their domestic violence arrests, will begin with Thursday's game against the Dallas Wings. It's not the longest in league history: The WNBA dismissed Rhonda Mapp, who also played for Los Angeles, in 2003 for violating its drug policy. Mapp never returned after being suspended by the league for two years.
According to an arrest report, Williams forced her way inside a Florida home and repeatedly struck Alkeria Davis in the head and pulled her hair Dec. 6. Two men told Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies they spent 10 minutes trying to break up the fight. When they finally separated the women, the 28-year-old Williams grabbed a gun from her car, placed it on the trunk and pointed it at one man, saying "you'll get all 18" before speeding off, authorities said.
Davis said she and Williams had been together on and off for five years and had broken up a month earlier. She told authorities she thought Williams was jealous but had never been violent in the past.
Williams was booked on burglary and aggravated assault charges.
The Sparks signed her on May 15. The seventh-year player has started six games this season and is averaging 11.5 points. She had 23 points in Los Angeles' last game, an overtime win over Atlanta on Sunday.
Assuming she doesn't appeal, Williams would return for the Sparks' final eight games, starting against the Indiana Fever on Aug. 22.
ESPN plans to launch daily podcasts
ESPN plans to launch a daily morning podcast in October, an audio production expected to include a mix of news coverage, trends in sports and feature stories done by ESPN's team of reporters.
"It's not going to be 'SportsCenter'; it's not news and highlights," said ESPN Executive Vice President Norby Williamson, who is overseeing the launch of "The ESPN Daily." "It's not three people sitting around a microphone talking, either. We want this to be elevated and highly produced."
Williamson suggested episodes could examine in-depth reporting, such as Jeremy Schaap's recent look at netting at Major League Baseball stadiums, or focus on a big, breaking story, such as when Kawhi Leonard picked the Los Angeles Clippers.
Blackhawks trade Anisimov for Smith
The Chicago Blackhawks traded Artem Anisimov to Ottawa in exchange for Zack Smith, a swap of 31-year-old forwards.
Anisimov played four seasons for the Blackhawks, scoring 77 goals and adding 78 assists in 291 games, including 15 goals and 22 assists last season. The Russian has also played with the Rangers and Blue Jackets over 11 years in the NHL.
Smith played 70 games last season for the Senators, scoring nine goals and adding a career-high 19 assists. The Canadian has played his entire 11-season NHL career with the Senators with 94 goals and 99 assists in 612 career games.
... The Capitals re-signed forward Jakub Vrana to a two-year, $6.7 million deal. The 23-year-old Vrana set career highs with 24 goals, 23 assists and 47 points last season. ... Cal Petersen signed a three-year contract extension with the Kings worth $858,833 annually. He was 5-4 with a .924 save percentage and 2.61 goals-against average last year in his rookie season.
AROUND THE HORN
Swimming: China's golden run at the world swimming championships continued when it won the mixed team event diving final. Lin Shan and Yang Jian won with a total of 416.65 points and didn't face a strong challenge on their way to victory.
Soccer: Atlanta United fullback Brek Shea suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee. Shea has started 10 of his 19 games this season.
NBA: Donald Watkins, a lawyer who once tried to purchase the Twins and was convicted of swindling NBA star Charles Barkley and using the name of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to bolster an investment scam, was sentenced to five years in prison. ... Forward Kelly Oubre Jr. re-signed with the Suns for $30 million over two years. The four-year pro led the NBA in steals per game with 2.1 after the All-Star break, to go along with averaging 20.2 points and 5.7 rebounds.